The drugmaker is on what it calls a transparency kick. Having already created registries listingclinical trials and grants, Lilly is apparently the first big drugmaker to back the Physicians Payments Sunshine Act, which would establish a national registry of payments to docs by drug and device makers. Although this is a revised version (see below).
Drug and device makers have been under pressure to take such steps. You may recall a dozen drug and device makers last month told Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican and a co-sponsor of the bill, that they would publicly disclose grants to outside groups, and the details will be provided on each company’s web site. And as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice, five device makers agreed to post consultant payments on their web sites.
In a statement, Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat and the other co-sponsor of the bill, praised Lilly. “Eli Lilly’s endorsement goes to show that transparency of the financial ties between doctors and drug makers is not only sensible, but do-able," he says.
UPDATE: We belatedly note two revisions that water down the original bill. Companies must publicly report gifts over $500; originally, that was $25. And fines were reduced to between $1,000 and $50,000 for each violation. The earlier proposal set fine at $10,000 to $100,000 per violation. Nothing like a compromise to gain support.
"Lilly...believes this legislation represents an important step in building public trust and confidence in the relationships between the pharmaceutical and device industries and physicians," John Lechleiter, Lilly's newly promoted ceo, in a statement. "This will help provide the assurance that Lilly runs its business consistent not only with our principles, but with the principles that a healthcare provider or patient should expect from a pharmaceutical company."
Lilly, however, has stopped short of full disclosure in some cases. Its grant registry doesn't contain any listings before 2007. And as we noted last October, its clinical trial registry doesn't list Phase IV trials completed before July 1, 2004. And while the Cialis web site boasts about safety and effectiveness in 22 trials, not all show up on the Lilly trial registry. You can read about that here.